Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, June 12, 2023

June 12, 2023


A Train Safety Bill Faces Uphill Battle in State Senate

A train safety bill — inspired by the February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — that was passed out of the state House last week faces an uphill battle in the Senate due in part to resistance from the industry and concerns over state regulators’ ability to enforce the legislation’s requirements. Spotlight PA has more.

Senate Bill Would Require Private Insurers to Pay for Telemedicine, Set Standards for Visits

A bill recently introduced by State Senator Elder Vogel (R-Allegheny) would require private insurers to pay for Pennsylvania residents’ virtual doctor visits and establish quality standards for telemedicine visits. Pennsylvania is one of five states in the country that does not require insurers to pay for virtual doctors’ appointments. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

PSERS Board Narrowly Approves Crypto Investment, Votes Down Real Estate Sale

Last week, trustees at the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) narrowly approved a proposal to invest as much as $130 million in Insight Partners XIII — an early-stage venture capital fund targeting info-tech and “internet of things” start-ups — and narrowly voted down a proposal to sell a 20-acre PSERS-owned property. The divided votes fell along distinct lines, made possible by the addition of six new members over the past year. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Elevated Section of I-95 Collapses in Northeast Philadelphia

Over the weekend, an elevated section of I-95 in Northeast Philadelphia collapsed after a tanker truck fire carrying gasoline burst into flames beneath it, weakening its supporting steel girders. During a press conference Sunday afternoon, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro indicated that repairs will likely take months at minimum, and followed up with a disaster declaration this morning. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia City Council Close to Adopting FY24 Budget

Last week, Philadelphia City Council gave initial approval to Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed $6.2 billion FY24 budget, which they are expected to grant final approval to soon. City & State Pennsylvania has a breakdown of what the budget is likely to include. Once adopted, the budget will be implemented beginning July 1.

President Biden to Visit Philadelphia Next Weekend

In his first visit since the announcement of his reelection campaign, President Joe Biden will return to Philadelphia next Saturday for a rally with union members at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Names 27 Community, Grassroots Organizations to Receive Opioid Settlement Funds for Various Efforts to Combat the Opioid Crisis

Last week, Philadelphia officials announced 27 community and grassroots organizations that have been awarded grant funding to expand or launch new programs to address the opioid crisis. The funding comes from settlement money won in national lawsuits against major opioid manufacturers and distributors for their role in fueling the ongoing crisis. WHYY has more.

Federal Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Fired, Suspended Philadelphia Police Officers

Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that a dozen Philadelphia police officers who were fired or suspended for racist and violent social media posts may pursue legal action against the City for violation of their First Amendment rights. The Associated Press has more.



Allegheny County Democrats Back Innamorato in Display of Unity

Allegheny County Democrats — including outgoing County Executive Rich Fitzgerald — met for a picnic over the weekend in a display of unity heading into the general election in November. Current State Representative Sara Innamorato won last month’s Democratic primary election. WESA has more.



Pennsylvania Republicans Keep Mostly Quiet on Trump Indictment

Many Pennsylvania Republicans are continuing to maintain their distance from former President Donald Trump in the wake of his recent federal indictment, with only two of 17 total members of the U.S. House from Pennsylvania speaking out in Trump’s defense. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Republican Party Pivots to Embrace of Mail-In Ballots Ahead of 2024 Election

Last week marked the Republican Party’s latest attempt to endear their base to the prospect of mail-in voting, a trend which shows no sign of stopping and which Democrats have successfully used to their advantage during the last few election cycles in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

What the Recent U.S. Supreme Court Redistricting Decision Could Mean for Pennsylvania

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that Alabama’s 2022 congressional maps violated the federal Voting Rights Act, which has potential to impact Pennsylvania’s redistricting efforts in 2031. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.


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